Hassanaly Ladha

Associate Professor French and Comparative Literature


Princeton University, Ph.D. Comparative Literature

Yale University, B.A. English with Distinction (magna cum laude)

Research Interests

French and German philosophy and literature; aesthetics; critical theory

Postcolonial studies

Poetry (19th and 20th century French, francophone African, American, British)

Arabic and Islamic studies (pre-Islamic poetry; Quranic studies; Islamic legal and political theory; African Islam)

Narrative Biography

Born and raised in the Congo, Hassanaly Ladha holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. He has taught at Harvard University before joining the Literatures, Cultures, and Languages faculty at the University of Connecticut.

Professor Ladha’s work centers on the relation of philosophy and literature. He anchors his research at the intersections of Arabo-Islamic thought, French and German philosophy and literature, and their respective legacies in francophone cultural expressions.

His first book, The Architecture of Freedom: Hegel, Subjectivity, and the Postcolonial State (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020) offers a new reading of Hegel’s related theories of Africa and the dialectic, language and the aesthetic, mastery and servitude, and subjectivity and the state, tracing the implications of these concepts for postcolonial studies and political theory.

Professor Ladha’s work spans a range of disciplines, with work published or forthcoming in the critical theory journal October, the medieval studies journal Exemplaria, and Journal of Arabic Literature. He has written on pre-Islamic poetry and the epistemological foundations of Arabo-Islamic thought, medieval Arabic poetry and the advent of the Sicilian sonnet, Hegel’s theory of history, and Mallarmé‘s Divagations. He is currently completing projects on aesthetics and democracy in Rousseau and Hegel and on poetry, epistemology, and time in Hegel, Mallarmé, and Hart Crane.

His current book project, Solomon and the Caliphate of Man, examines the epistemic foundations of Arabo-Islamic thought from early Arabic poetry and the Qur’an to Arabic linguistics and contemporary theories of the legal and political subject.

His other works include The Mamertine Group, a series of virtual public interventions that implicate architecture in the political imaginary, relating monumental form to questions of sovereignty, citizenship, culture, and history. His “Prison-Wall” project has been featured in over one hundred publications internationally including UConn Today, The Guardian, CNBC, The New York Times,  Wired, Fusion, and CNN.

Professor Ladha serves on the Advisory Board of Journal of Arabic Literature. He has lectured at the École Normale Supérieure, the American University of Cairo, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Harvard University, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and the University of Connecticut.

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